Today Don and I drove to South Lake Tahoe to meet up with the TINS birding group at Cove East, where the Upper Truckee River flows in to Lake Tahoe. (The start of the walk is just across from the boat marina.) There were about 15 birders on the trip, but in spite of the large numbers folks were nice and considerate, and one guy was sharing his birding scope. Initially we grouped in an area that gave a good view of the marsh, and a distant sandbar. I could barely see those birds, but some of the folks identified some unusual sandpipers and a number of white-faced ibises were feeding. There were also several ducks including mallards and gadwalls, as well as a Great Blue Heron. There were also some warblers close by in the willows, including Orange-crowned Warblers and the ubiquitous Yellow-rumped Warblers. Once we started down the path, we encountered more birds. It was a nice cool morning! In a little while, the team also saw a Sora. Sarah the naturalist had heard it, and I believe that someone in the group played the bird sound on his/her iphone and successfully lured it out from under the shrubbery. This is a funny-looking bird, and I’d never seen one before! I was lagging a bit behind the group, when luckily someone else who was also lagging spotted a beautiful Green Heron semi-hidden by the grassy reeds, and eating some kind of fish. After a few seconds he became nervous and flew off.
We continued to the beach where we encountered young Mallards who seemed to be hungry, and hoping for a handout. We also saw some flycatchers including a Black Phoebe. (I saw this bird all the time when I lived in Milpitas, but this was my first sighting in the Tahoe area!) I also saw what another bird thought might be a gray flycatcher, but Will the Naturalist identified it as (yet another) Western Wood Pewee, but a very pretty specimen indeed. Another noteworthy sighting was the Western Osprey that perched on the top branch of a pine tree for quite some time, surveying the the local birders and perhaps considering its next meal.
Today I added 3 species to my Tahoe Big Year list!